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Scholar says Korea should overcome fear of embracing innovation

Choi Jae-boong, professor of mechanical engineering at Sungkyunkwan University, speaks at the Global Business Forum hosted by The Korea Herald on Wednesday. (Photo by Jenny Sung)
Choi Jae-boong, professor of mechanical engineering at Sungkyunkwan University, speaks at the Global Business Forum hosted by The Korea Herald on Wednesday. (Photo by Jenny Sung)
Digital innovation in South Korean industries faces a major hurdle from the country‘s older generation weary of technological changes having unexpected side effects, said professor of mechanical engineering at Sungkyunkwan University Choi Jae-boong on Wednesday.

“We as a society need to be more tolerant of people who may create side effects while leading the digital civilization,“ Choi said at the Global Business Forum hosted by The Korea Herald in Seoul on Wednesday.

“Geniuses leave Korea because of old people who do not understand new technologies like the metaverse and who have power to convince the parliament to erect legal barriers to prevent any side effects (from happening).“

Korea‘s older generation managed to achieve a great economic feat in the 20th century, but are afraid that they may lose it all if side effects arise during this digital shift, he stressed.

But without taking a bold step, innovation cannot happen.

”If the United States was afraid of the internet innovation, or that Uber and Airbnb would destroy the existing system, American industries would never have borne fruit,“ he said.

They must try to understand why young adults in their 20s and 30s find metaverse and nonfungible tokens attractive, and why large corporations like Adidas and Nike are pioneering these markets, he added.

Choi said he believes that the future of Asia‘s fourth-largest economy is in the metaverse and that is why Korea’s CEOs should overcome their fear of innovation.

Another speaker of the forum was Kim Jong-ki, chairman of the Blue Tree Foundation, a nongovernmental organization for the prevention of school violence. Introducing the organization‘s role in connecting people’s hearts and leading social change, Kim said eradicating school violence should be a crucial part of the new government’s education reform.

The weekly forum takes place on Wednesdays and runs through July 20.
Kim Jong-ki, chairman of the Blue Tree Foundation (Photo by Jenny Sung)
Kim Jong-ki, chairman of the Blue Tree Foundation (Photo by Jenny Sung)

By Lee Seung-ku (seungku99@heraldcorp.com)
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